A Word From The Cook

“Fusilli Zafferano is one of our favorite dishes from Mauro Golmarvi’s Assaggio Ristorante in Seattle.  Pine nuts, currants, arugula, saffron, and sausage are just a few reasons to try this fresh and tasty pasta dish from one of our favorite Seattle chefs!”


Prep Time:

30 Minutes


4-6 People (If you're serving a menu with appetizers, salad, and/or dessert, this recipe will satisfy 6)


  • 1 Pound dried fusilli pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 Ounces spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons currants
  • 1 Teaspoon saffron
  • 1 Cup cold water
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Cups fresh arugula
  • 1/3 Cup grated  Pecorino Romano cheese
  1. Step 1 – Prepare Ingredients
    1. Make saffron tea by heating a small dry frying pan or skillet to medium low and adding saffron.  Stir often for 3-5 minutes to toast. Saffron should not turn black. Remove saffron from pan.
    2. Bring 1 cup water to boil in small sauce pan. Add saffron, reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. (Saffron tea can be stored in the refrigerator sealed for 1 week, or frozen for later use.
    3. Toast pine nuts in an oven proof dish at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
    4. Set out all ingredients so they’re ready to use.  This is a fast prep dish, that will be done in the time it takes to cook your pasta.
  2. Step 2 – Brown Sausage and Boil Pasta
    1. Bring salted water to boil for pasta, while you begin browning sausage.
    2. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, until almost smoking.  Add sausage, breaking it up into pieces with tongs or wooden spoon, until browned evenly. Add salt and pepper.
    3. When sausage is browned, add toasted pine nuts and currants. Sauté for a minute or so.  Add 1/2 cup saffron tea and 1/2 cup heavy cream and deglaze in pan.  Let thicken.
    4. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente (Mauro recommends removing pasta 1-2 minutes earlier than package directions for chewy pasta).
    5. While pasta is boiling, take a half cup or so of pasta water and add to the sausage sauté. Let mixture sizzle until pasta is done.
  3. Step 3 – Combine Ingredients and Serve
    1. When pasta is  done, drain in colander.
    2. Add drained pasta to sauté pan and combine ingredients.
    3. Add arugula and cheese to mixture (reserving some for garnish).
    4. Serve on individual plates, or on a large size serving tray, for family style table service.
    5. Enjoy while it’s hot!
    6. Thanks to, Mauro Golmarvi, Owner of Assaggio Ristorante for sharing this wonderful recipe which you can also find on the menu at his restaurant. Located at 2010 4th Avenue · Seattle WA 98121 · 206 441-1399